As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
In this passage there is a picture of Jesus riding into Jerusalem as King. He has instructed his disciples to bring him a donkey and a colt on which he would ride into Jerusalem. The scene erupts as Jesus enters the city with the crowds laying out their coats as a red-carpet shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” This took place within a week of Jesus being sentenced to death on a cross where crowds would soon be shouting, “Crucify him, crucify him, crucify him!” What happened? How could things turn so quickly? Why would the crowd turn on Jesus?
Some of the details in this passage may help us understand. One of which to note was that Jesus entered Jerusalem during Passover. This was a time where Jerusalem’s population would be nearly five to six times larger than normal. Israelites from across the region would come together to celebrate the time God freed their ancestors from slavery in Egypt by the blood of the lamb (Exodus 12). A king would often ride on a donkey as a symbol of peace as opposed to riding on a war horse as a sign of power. The shout of Hosanna literally meant “save us.” It is clear the people desired Jesus to be King, but the kind of king Jesus would be is not what they expected. They wanted to be freed from their oppressors and rule over the nations. Jesus came to rule eternally and offered peace to the world through the blood he shed. Few in this moment realized he was here for a lasting Exodus or Passover and that it would be accomplished by the shedding of his blood (lamb) on the cross. Take some time today and reflect on the lasting freedom King Jesus offers by the shedding of his blood.